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Do Gore-Tex Boots Drain?

When water comes over the top of Gore-Tex boots it can't seep out again like in regular boots, right?

Question:

When water comes over the top of Gore-Tex boots it can’t seep out again like in regular boots, right?

Submitted by - Peter Crum, Mimbres, NM

Answer:

Dear Peter,
Well, you are sort of right. Let’s break the question down a bit. While it’s true that water that comes over the tops of Gore-Tex boots has no where to go, and will remain sloshing around with your wet sock and soon-to-be-wrinkled toes until you pour it off, the same can be said of most any boot, Gore-Tex or not, unless it is a water shoe with drain holes (like Keen’s Hood River Boot – check out our slideshow review).

So, if you’re asking if this inability to shed water is a flaw of a Gore-Tex boot design, the answer is no. Gore-Tex boots will keep your feet dry, even if you stand in water all day long–as long as water doesn’t pour in over the top. To prevent that from happening you can do two things: 1) wear good, waterproof gaiters, and 2) approach any stream crossing with a good plan for staying dry.

As for gaiters, look for anything made of a waterproof/breathable material, with taped seams and a good, tight seal around your boot. When buying, it’s best to wear your hiking boots to the store and try on a couple pairs of gaiters to check around the lower perimeter of the gaiter for any gaps that could let water in. Also look for an instep strap that will let you keep the gaiter nice and low around the boot’s upper. One of our all-time favorite gaiters is this one: Outdoor Research Crocodile Gaiters.

And as for stream crossing, it’s a matter of just doing the best you can. If you know you’re feet will get wet (i.e. deep water), just accept it and either change into sandals for the crossing or be ready to put on dry socks on the other side. But often it’s just a matter of finding the right chain of dry rocks to hop on, and taking it slow and steady, rather than just plowing across like a Labrador retriever.

1 Comment

  1. Reamo

    I, for one, believe in Gore-Tex boots. I can remember the days when a leather boot in snow or water would soak through and then it would take days to dry out and I dont like to hike with wet feet. I was never able to find a leather waterproofing that would last very long in prolonged wet conditions. While it is true that the membrane will start to leak over time, those small leaks are still less than a straight leather boot. Also, since the membrane would keep water from penetrating the inner boot, the Gore-tex outer boot would tend to dry out quicker. I have also noticed that if you do over top the boots, they will still dry from the inside out from your body heat even in wet conditions. Good luck with that in a non Gore-tex boot..

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